Meg Whitman calls for patience with troubled HP -

The maker of expensive printer ink, HP, is suffering after it warned earnings dropped by 44 percent.

Even after finding a bit of change down the back of the sofa, the latest chief exec, Meg Whitman, is going to have a difficult time selling the state of the company to Wall Street.

The predicted fall is below Wall Street estimates as it struggles with weak PC and printer sales, which has hit HP's enterprise equipment business too.

Whitman pleaded for a little patience from Wall Street.

"If you look at business history and you look at companies which have gone through the kind of turnaround that we're leading HP through right now, these things are not quick" she said, adding that it could take anywhere from two to five years to improve, Reuters reports.

Whitman pointed out that it took a while for HP to get into this mess and it will take a little longer to get out of it.

Fiscal first-quarter revenue fell seven percent to $30 billion, below Wall Street's best guess. Sales from the personal systems group fell 15 percent, which executives blamed partly on a persistent shortage of hard drives caused by the flooding in Thailand.

The printing group fell seven percent, thanks to weak consumer demand as the world economy struggled.

Sales of enterprise servers, storage and networking equipment - which should have given HP some cheer - fell by 10 percent.

HP reported net income of $1.47 billion for the fiscal first quarter, or 73 cents a share, down from $2.6 billion, or $1.17 a share, a year earlier.